The need for creating copies of existing information has led to the concept and subsequently, invention of printing. Going all the way back to China where paper was believed to have been produced for the first time, so did printing. It was done by putting a pattern that needed to be printed and then laying over a soft sheet most commonly available at that time- a cloth and using ink and two scraping tools. Fast forward to hundreds of years, in the modern era, xerox and printing have become so common that it is assumed to be simple. Well, it’s not. It requires a wide variety of tools and devices and a good knowledge of existing software, in short-technical skills and knowledge.

Transparent screen printing is printing information on a transparent film or screen. Sounds simple. It has a huge number of applications especially in the world that we live in today. From promotions of products, making designs for t-shirts, pages in a thesis book, house and office interior décor, to parts of many office accessories, it has found its place in many fields of work.

We need to keep in mind many things before we opt for transparent screen printing. We need to first have a design-the most important part of the process and the base on which the result depends on, we need a suitable device-that prints in colors and black and white if necessary-inkjet printers! Yes, they might be expensive but they are worth the outcome if invested in the right ones.

Also, you will need another most important part of the process-the sheets/screens on which the information or the design will be printed. The sheets traditionally used to be cotton, silk and sometimes even wool, but since we are talking about transparent screen printing you will need those made from acrylic or polyester. Along with this you will require software that will enable you to edit different parts of your design. Software like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop or sometimes Microsoft Word will work well. Any of the mentioned software (preferably one) will get the job done. Alright! Keep reading to find out more!

Software-vector design programs:

As mentioned above, this software lets users make changes in their design in the way desired for the output. Vector design programs are the graphic software which allow users to design and manipulate their designs-either premade or drawn themselves-using mathematical and geometric commands. They also have a huge number of tools that allow users to change and create designs in an easy and hassle-free way. Effective use of these tools will aid in the accuracy and precision of the final product. Ratings for different software tell us that Adobe Illustrator is the best so far for making the edits of the design as required, so if you are looking for a good option, there you have it.

Complexity of design patterns:

If we look at an average printed transparent screen, it’s monochromatic meaning it consists of one color. The reason for this is that many colors interfere with the laser that does the printing work. Hence many users prefer Black or white when it comes to the color of the print. Also, it is important to make sure that the design doesn’t have too many complex patterns like intricate curves and lines as this may affect accuracy in the final output. So, the golden rule will be the simpler, the better and clearer.

But if you still have to go for a complex design, it is advisable to use acetate sheets instead of plastic/acrylic/polyester sheets.


Choosing an appropriate device for transparent screen printing can be a game-changer. It can make all the difference you want. Hence choosing a good transparent screen printer and using its optimal settings for printing on a transparent sheet is recommended for better results. Top leaders in this business are Canon Inkjet and Epson 480, there are also pretty good number of laser printers along with these, so it is advisable to choose depending on the affordability and period of use.

Material-the screen/film:

It is important to use clear waterproof inkjet films. Screens are made of plastic/polyester/acrylic and are usually thin and transparent. So, they must be used very carefully to not mess with the final product. Not all work well for all printers hence choose the material wisely. Also, it is important to keep the rough side up while loading the sheet into the printer. It is on this rough side that the content of the design or information will be printed. The smooth side will aid in drying it up.

The process of printing will be summed up as follows:

1)   Make your design nice and beautiful using appropriate software.

2)   Render it

3)   Get good quality transparent sheets and printer

4)   Keep your sheets with rough side up while printing and set printing settings to print as dark as possible (better visibility)

Hope this article has been helpful in providing adequate knowledge about transparent screen printing.

By Manali

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